Review Summary: it's not my home anymore
Recorded while on tour for last year’s comeback album Four
, The Nextwave Sessions
is a rather disparate little collection of songs from the London four-piece. Let’s get the bad news out the way first: the EP is bookended by two absolute stinkers. Opener/single ‘Ratchet’ is a legitimate contender for worst Bloc Party song of all time with its utterly obnoxious, well, everything
. While musically pleasant, closer ‘Children of the Future’ is ruined by Kele Okereke (a man prone to the occasional cringey-as-fuck lyric) pissing all over the tune with some of the hardest clunkers he’s ever written. ‘French Exit’ fares better - a fun yet forgettable track recalling early-mid era BP (read: frantic drumming, driving bass, effects-soaked guitars) - but does precious little to distinguish itself from the pack, amounting to little more than a copy of a copy. Thankfully, one thing this band has always excelled at is feelsy slow jams and there are two gems to be found here. ‘Obscene’ envelops the listener in a fog of sorrow and regret as Kele pours his heart out in a genuinely touching lament to lost love, while the gorgeous ‘Montreal’ is the distillation of pure isolation in audio form.
These two songs, and to a lesser extent ‘French Exit’, make it worth the price of admission, but other than that it’s a case of heard it all before. The Nextwave Sessions
will please most fans in a bittersweet kind of way. It’s a good EP, yes, but gives the distinct impression that this is a band with nothing left to do and nowhere else to go. With reports of intra-band tension, the heartbeat of the band (drummer Matt Tong) conspicuously absent from recent live shows, and another indefinite hiatus, the writing is well and truly on the wall. Bloc Party are riding off into the sunset and would be prudent never to look back, leaving their legacy (mostly) intact. As Neil Young so wisely sang, ‘it’s better to burn out than to fade away